30th day of Rova 4707, continued
After the fight we tried to figure out how to get to Nualia. The scholar had mentioned she was downstairs, but we had found no way to get down there except maybe the other staircase up on the ground floor. While the others tried to find a secret passage I studied an old crude wall painting depicting a giant goblin with snakelike eyes and taloned hands located in the center of Thistletop. I snapped out of it when Aran suddenly called out that he had found something. In the scholar’s room there was a secret door and a staircase leading down to a lower floor.
Down there we entered a tilted room illuminated by oil lamps. On either side there were two alcoves containing statues, all of them vandalized leaving what appared to be large claw marks. They were in the likeness of a robed man grasping a glaive and a book. The architectural style revealed that this is yet another place of runelord origin.
Aran decided to scout ahead, down the corridor, and ended up in devious trap! Portcullises slammed down in front and behind of him, and glaive wielding statues at the sides started swinging wildly at him with their weapons! He tried with the help of Grak to lift the heavy iron grille, but their attempts were in vain. Luckily Lyriana realized what kind of trap it was and called out to him to get off the floor. By leaving the pressure plate the trap eventually reset and Aran could roll away just in time to save himself! Afterwards Lyriana disarmed the trap and we could move on.
At the end of the corridor there was a statue, missing it’s upper half, and a door to the left and to the right. These heavy stone doors were covered in writing reminiscent of the varisian language. Leewald used a magic scroll to gain the ability to read the language. It mentioned another runelord, Karzoug, the paragon of generosity and/or greed. Leewald couldn’t make sense of that. But he seemed to have been a ruler or something. Before we proceeded I suggested that Lyriana should check for traps. Better safe than sorry right? She found none so we opened the door to the left…
…and walked into an ambush! Nualia, Orik and one of those flying demon dogs were ready for us! It was a tough fight, but we almost had them beat when suddenly Nualia cast a spell which covered the whole room in a thick mist. Aran call a retreat but I wasn’t about to leave Tama to face these monsters alone, so I snuck in there to empower him with my magic. However since the cowards ran away Tama was hard pressed defending himself and one of them got a lucky hit, downing him. There was nothing else I could do but to retreat. Grak may have expertly downed the dog, but I still didn’t like my chances alone in the mist. It stung to have Tama dismissed, it always does. The fact that he always return didn’t make me any less angry.
The rest hadn’t retreated far, they were waiting in the room with the statues. It was about as bad a spot as the last one we fought in. Our opponents took advantage of that, remaining in the mist and shooting arrows at us. Aran managed to get them to pull back though, using his seemingly endless supply of lamp oil! We pursued them when the fog lifted and walked into another ambush. Fang even died! But this time we meant business, and we took them down after another hard fight! Unfortunatly Nualia didn’t suffer the way she deserved. Leewald gave her a quick death despite my objections. He said something about saving Aran. Aran was fine! I had already saved him! Though I admit I felt some sympathy for her after reading her journal. Humans can be so cruel.
Orik surrendered when his employer died, and I had disarmed him, but Grak was out for blood! That mercenary had killed his pet! I wasn’t about to get in the way of Grak’s revenge and I even helped him a little. Lyriana didn’t like it and tried to intervene, unsuccessfully. Leewald made us come to our senses eventually though, and we took him prisoner. Where was that sensability a moment ago when he killed Nualia?!
We interrogated Orik, but that didn’t give us much. Nualia’s journal was all the more enlightening. She had lived a shitty life in Sandpoint, and the town apparantly had itself to blame for this mess. Father Sir has some answering to do when we get back! He’s lucky he’s a man of the cloth! Other than that, Malfeshnekor is descibed as a “monsterous goblin-wolf”. So either we have conflicting information or this demon is a shapechanger. I’ll willing to bet it’s the latter.
Oh, and the journal also mentions the Sihedron Medallion, an item given to her by the leader of the Skinsaw Cult. I’m assuming this is the very same medallion we found in Nualia’s possession. When studying the item I noticed that it was the focus of an ongoing scrying effect. Presumably we are being watched by the cult, or worse, by something even more powerful affiliated with the cult. I told the others about the scrying effect, but they didn’t seem overly concerned. I may have to look into this on my own, since I dare not enquire about the cult when close to that medallion.
As I write this entry we are setting up camp up in the courtyard again. Tomorrow we are going to investigate the rest of this place, in case Malfeshnekor is actually real. And who knows, maybe there’s more loot to be had as well! Grak would prefer to leave immediatly, but I’m not leaving until I know what that stupid key is for!